During election season, it’s all “Republican this” and “Democrat that,” but a group of Western Connecticut State University honors students are ditching the labels and trying to find solutions to our nation’s problems on common ground.
Their project, Views from the Center, researches and re-writes domestic policy, incorporating both parties' best ideas along with their own. We recently spoke to WCSU junior Marissa O’Loughlin about her work with Views from the Center, and how she hopes to inspire more young people to get involved with politics.
MTV ACT: Tell us about the significance of being both a bipartisan and non-partisan group.
MARISSA: Our mission is to take the best of the left and the right and fuse it together with common sense. To be bipartisan and comprise, is, at times, our answer to political, social, and economic problems. However, in alternative cases, our answer is to reject common political platforms completely and pose an entirely new and original thought as a solution.
ACT: Do you feel like candidates focus too much on winning for their sides, and not on what would make the nation better as a whole?
MARISSA: Being a politician is a job; they seek to be employed to that job description. We cannot blame politicians for putting energy into wanting to be elected. However, we can hold them accountable for the job that they do once elected. A team of America-centered, rather than party-centered politicians, and an active governed people is what is going to make the nation better; not one or the other.
ACT: Do you think candidates focus on enough of the issues affecting young people? What issues would you like to see more focus on?
I do not think that when President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney are speaking that they are considering the 18-25 voter range enough. One of the largest issues young people have been discussing is social security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Personally, I’d like to see environmental health addressed by each candidate. There are ways to improve the status of our environment, which in turn will undoubtedly improve human health.
ACT: How can we inspire more young people to care about politics?
Amongst young voters, the interest is low when it comes to voting; some argue that their vote does not count. While it is difficult to make anyone care about something that you care about, there are several ways in which one could try. I believe knowledge is power. There should be a place where every young person could see exactly which policies directly affect him or her. For example, many young people may not understand that “Obamacare” is the reason they can be on their parents’ health insurance until they are 26. Moreover, I would like to see civic-centered courses for young people to understand basic politics.
We have good news for you, Marissa! There is a place like the one you mentioned! Head over to MTV’s Power of 12 to keep up with the election and learn more about how the candidate’s stances on every issue affect you!